Why Paper Shredding Matters For GDPR Compliance

General Data Protection Regulation, better known as GDPR, has brought many new data protection rules. The rules, which are considered the most significant data protection changes in 20 years, mean that data must be processed fairly and lawfully, kept secure, accurate, and up-to-date.

The emphasis on GDPR has so far been centered on cybersecurity and IT compliance. Yet, the regulations apply to all personal data regardless of the format. That inevitably leads to the need to consider information printed or written on paper.

Here is what you should know about these regulations and how they pertain to you and your business, and why letting a local paper shredding company do the work for you might be your wisest choice.

Why is GDPR necessary? 

The General Data Protection Regulation is a legal framework in the EU and the UK created to assist businesses and public entities in protecting personal information and citizens’ privacy.

The GDPR strengthens individuals’ rights to access and manage personal data they own, such as their biometric data or IP address. More importantly, individuals reserve the right to withdraw the use of their data from a business or public entity at any time.

Because of this, businesses with over 250 employees must have a Data Protection Officer, who will make sure that the company collects, uses, and disposes of sensitive data responsibly.

What type of data is protected by GDPR? 

By definition, personal data is any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (i.e., the data subject).

Personal data can include location data, a name, medical information, or social or economic information, which can help identify said natural person. Put simply; personal data is information that relates to an individual.

The GDPR covers the processing of this data in several ways, including wholly or partly automated processing or personal information being processed in a wholly non-automated manner, such as in the case of a paper recording being used as part of a filing system.

What to do with the paper records you still need? 

For GDPR, the same security concerns that affect the digital world also apply to the analog one. Printed information can be photocopied, removed, or destroyed, as can a digital record. One area where paper records are still required is the HR department. CVs, signatures on employment agreements, disciplinary notes – all these will take a while to digitize. 

The obvious thing here is that most offices will have a filing cabinet with a lock. All required for GDPR compliance is for someone to be held responsible and secure the key, and deputize one other person in their absence. 

If files are taken off-site, a register must be maintained to record the person taking the file and when it is due to be returned. For most cases, this set of procedures will be sufficient for GDPR.

Why should you shred? 

Shredding your paperwork is the single most secure way to dispose of it. Not only that, but it helps your business meet its GDPR requirements for data security by providing a practical and safe way of disposing of data, preventing access by third parties.

If you don’t have processes to protect the data you hold in hard copy, you are leaving yourself open to severe security risk and potential fines. This is because under GDPR you are liable if a data breach leads to an individual’s personal information being stolen.

One of the critical components of data security is proper disposal of data – in any format. Anyone can read unshredded documents, so simply putting them in a bin or recycling bin isn’t going to be enough. 

By shredding your documents once they have fulfilled their purpose, you are effectively destroying the information and preventing it from being read by third parties – fulfilling your obligations in one simple action.

Why your office shredder might not be good enough 

Even if you feed all the outdated paper documents to the office shredder, that might not be enough to secure their destruction. 

This is mainly because most office shredders are ‘strip cut,’ which still poses a risk of a breach through reconstruction. That is why it might be worth investing in a professional service with industrial-sized equipment that will handle the documents and shred them following standard rules and best practices.

This is a far preferable method than to waste your own employees’ time feeding individual records into a typical office paper shredder.

Conclusion 

The GDPR covers far more than the deletion of digital documentation. Its rules apply to the storage of any kind of personal data. However, physical documents are often overlooked when attempting to achieve GDPR compliance. That is why you must take the time to understand the processes that your business uses and to update them accordingly. 

Just because the world is moving into digital processing doesn’t mean that paper-based risk has gone away completely. Thinking so would be a costly mistake to make.

Why it’s Worth Hiring Local Web Design Companies

When it comes to building or redesigning a website for your business, you might think that all web building companies are equal. After all, we live in the global market age, and we are all connected via the Internet. 

But, this is simply not true. Read this article to understand better why it is smarter to hire a local web designer. Some of these benefits are apparent, while some are not that obvious. Get to know about them now. 

Better and more efficient communication 

Constant communication with your web designer is vital to ensure that they understand your website design. Working with overseas or national companies means you can only communicate your needs online, which can lead to miscommunication.

With a local web design company, you have the advantage of physical meetings with your designer in person to discuss your ideas and preferred design so they are fully customised to your needs. Face-to-face communication is more effective than virtual communication.

Don’t forget that if your web designer is in another time zone, you have more significant communication hurdles. You will find that it takes longer to get replies to your emails, and there will be other inevitable delays.

These things can be quite frustrating when you want to communicate new requirements or changes. With a local web designer, you will also avoid possible language barriers or cultural differences.

Local folks will understand your needs better

woman working on laptop

To add to what was stated above, a local web agency understands what makes the needs of local and small businesses so distinct from those of larger brands. Budgets tend to be more limited. The audiences are more strictly defined, at least some physical presence exists, and the products tend to be more niche. 

These needs, in turn, require very distinct marketing and website strategies. Various best practices exist specifically for this type of online presence, both in terms of your website design and SEO. A local agency will take the time to ensure these methods are being applied effectively to meet your business objectives.

The local agency staff will know what your competitors are doing and what your client base is looking for. Given their insider knowledge and experience, they will have excellent ideas and strategies to help your brand stand out to potential clients.

Risks are lower 

With a local web company, you can do a background check, look at their online reviews from other local business owners and establish their credibility far more quickly. The local business network can recommend expert designers at fair prices.

Similarly, local designers know that their clients can come in at any time and demand explanations for uncompleted projects. Hence, they keep their clients informed of their progress and ensure that they meet their requirements. The designers are also aware that local business owners will either build or damage their reputation based on their experience. 

Word-of-mouth reputation is usually more important to companies when they have to deal with other local businesses. You can also ask your web designer for local references with whom you can cross-check the quality of service.

Connections and local resources 

Another advantage of letting a local company do your web design is that they have more access to local businesses and resources, which international companies don’t have. With this knowledge, your web designer can have updated information on the market’s preferences near you. Use this to your advantage to create website content that works best in the local market.

An agency in your area will understand the importance of your web presence related to local events, potential clients in the area, and residents. Larger agencies will overlook these opportunities due to their inexperience with the area. 

People familiar with your area and community will understand better when you’re targeting a submarket that is specific to your location. This submarket could be people within a particular income bracket or living within a particular locality.

Networking possibilities 

Among the significant factors for the success of a business is networking. Different entities require others to work and serve their clients efficiently. No one can know your local business landscape better than your local web designers.

A web design company, on the other hand, designs websites for various entities. So, if you create a good relationship with your local web designer, the chances of them connecting you with other people in your business or others that could help your business are high. 

Hiring them could even serve as an opportunity to meet new clients or suppliers as you endeavour to create quality websites for your businesses.

Better long-term support 

Maintaining your online presence is an endeavour that is never complete. When going local, you can expect ongoing web support. Should something go wrong or you need a minor update, you already have an existing partnership with your local agency. 

Also, think of ongoing web support as an investment. Just as you would continue investing in your sales team with training and access to the latest resources, your website deserves just as much attention. The internet is continuously changing, and staying on top of current trends and updates through a web support team will help secure ROI, as well as ongoing success for your business.

You may also need training for using your content management system or your web hosting control panel. You’re likely to get better support and interactive training if you hire local designers.

Conclusion 

Outsourcing web design to a local web company involves lower risks, higher accountability, better communication, and reliable support. Local designers must maintain a good reputation and image in the market to stay in business. You can easily monitor the progress of your website and organize physical meetings with the designer where necessary.

Although it may seem easy to hire a web designer from a far-off location, it can prove more difficult and costly in the long run. Web designing is an ongoing process even though most of the work is done in the initial months.

New requirements and changes keep coming up, and you’re better off with a local web designer who is likely to have more commitment and a higher stake in your website’s success.

5 Things Coaching Can Do for Your Business

When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re the one to whom your employees turn when they need advice and mentorship. Leaders are used to offering guidance; not receiving it.

But even leaders need someone who can help them see things more clearly.

Every business owner can use someone who knows what they are going through, someone who has been in their shoes, and, more importantly, someone who can help them clarify their vision for their business.

That’s where business coaching comes in. By bringing in a business coach who has years of experience, you can lead your business where you want it to be.

Help You Build Actionable Plans

You are the one who determines how fast you will meet your personal and business goals. You’re the one who decides how much passion you will pour into achieving them.

But dedication isn’t the only factor here. You also must consider how your personal and business goals relate.

You need to understand what impact your business goals will have on your life and why they are important to you personally.

Lynn Berger, an award-winning career counsellor and coach, recommends asking yourself if your work is in line with your values, personality style, motivated skills, and interests to determine whether you need to make some changes.

A trusted professional can help you answer these questions and figure out how to bridge the gaps between your personal life and your work life.

If a business goal is not connected to your personal plans, goals, and dreams, getting to that business goal may not be as critical. A business coach will help you clarify this and put things in perspective.

Once they help you determine where you want to take your business, a business coach will help you with crafting strategies and plans needed to bring your business closer to its goals.

Typically, business owners meet with their coaches every week or every month to keep track of the progress of their previous commitments.

By helping you prioritize goals, a coach will help you create a clear road map for your business. They can help you see the difference between business tasks and long term objectives more clearly.

Create Accountability

Accountability is a vital part of business & marketing coaching. Your business coach isn’t your consultant. You’ll never see a tennis coach going to the gym for their player.

Business coaching works the same. Your coach won’t build your business for you. What they will do is keep you focused on the end result.

A business coach can help you grow your business by constantly motivating you to keep your commitments and reminding you why it is important.

They can highlight business blind spots. In fact, 26% of coaches are hired to act as a sounding board. Every business owner can use someone who will hold a mirror in front of them when needed.

Business coaches create KPIs (key performance metrics) to track their clients’ goals. This way, the road to your business goals is much more transparent.

A business owner is very accountable when their journey is transparent. Creating business plans is one thing; sticking to them is another.

Your business coach won’t work in your business, but they will work on your business. They will make sure regular reviews take place in order to make you accountable.

Fill in Knowledge Gaps

Entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates. HR, accounting, marketing, sales, and business developments are just some of the things business owners often struggle to cope with.

It’s unreasonable to expect from a business owner to carry out all of these functions exceptionally well, all at once, even if they are an expert in all of them.

Many business owners hire a coach because they are having difficulties with some facets of running a business.

Most business owners launch a startup focusing just on one thing—the core function of the company. Because of that, they have to learn about other functions of running a business as they are developing it.

This is where a business coach provides great value. They can make sure you take care of all the key functions of your business. And, every company can use someone who can step in with an objective overview.

Again, your coach won’t do the work for you. But, when the need arises, they will fill in the gaps. Moreover, they can help you find the experts you need by using their network of contacts.

Define Your Growth Strategy

For every entrepreneur, growth can be an overwhelming stage. The need for new employees is a great sign that your products or services are good, but it also means that you will need to take on much more responsibility.

Being responsible for someone else’s livelihood can bring mixed emotions. Your coach can help you determine when to start hiring by examining your business forecast together with you. They can provide you with reassurance and advice throughout the recruitment process.

Enhance Your Time Management

Busy people always wish there was an extra hour in the day. The way we manage our time can often be a big cause of stress. The worse your time management gets, the harder it is to find a way out.

In a situation like that, you can benefit from someone who has an objective view of the situation. A coach can help you better see which areas of your business deserve more of your time and which don’t.

To ensure the most important work gets done, your coach will help with the time management of your personal life, as well as your working life. Your coach will help you find ways to better manage your workload if it becomes clear that it’s too big for the time you have available.

Conclusion

As an entrepreneur, you are the most important component in your business. To be a good business owner, you need to take a holistic approach to the way you run your company.

Having an objective ally by your side who knows what it takes to run a business can bring great value to your company.

Customisation and How It Can Help Your Business Grow

As a business owner, you have two options – standardisation and customisation. If you want a one-size-fits-all solution, go with standardisation of your business process.

On the other hand, if you want to leave an impression on your customers, create an exceptional user experience, send a personalised message to your clients, or have a unique software developed just for you – start customising your products, services, and communications as soon as possible.

If you are constantly hearing about the importance of personalisation and customisation, but still wondering how that might help your business go sky-high, read on. You’ll find out what types of customisation can help your company grow.

Customise Your Offer

two man doing shake hands

You could say that you want everyone to be your customer, but pointing out to „everyone“ as your target audience is not such a good idea. As Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb says, you should „build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like”.

So, define your audience more profoundly. Be specific. Get into details. Imagine your ideal client and create a buyer persona out of it. Is it a teenager thinking about their college education? Or a manager who needs a masterful project management tool? Or, perhaps, a senior who is thinking about settling in a retirement home?

Once you define a target group of people, go out there and talk to them. What are their needs? What kind of problems do they face? Can your product or service solve them? Yes? Great! Customise your offers accordingly.

Customise the Client Onboarding Process

Starting a new project with a client you have never worked before can be a challenging experience for both of you. What is this client like? Should you sign a non-disclosure agreement? Will they pay you on time? Will you be able to develop a long-term relationship with them?

The best way to stop playing the guessing game and start nurturing a trustworthy relationship right from the start is to have a customised onboarding pack.

You can prepare templates upfront and fill in the blanks when a new project arises. Make sure to include your work process, approximate timeline, cost estimate, payment requirements, NDA outline, project documentation, and your terms of use, all packed up and ready to be customised for every new customer you acquire.

Customise Your Business Relationships

Building a strong relationship with your customers will help you gain loyal clients in the long run. It will drive sales, bring growth, and make your business sustainable.

In order to develop such a strong partnership with your clients, you need to have a personalised approach to sales. What does that mean? It means you need to handle your customers with great care. Because “the best marketing strategy ever is CARE“, as a renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say.

Every one of your customers is unique. So, treat them with respect and make them feel special. Nurture the relationship with your audience through social media profiles.

Answer every given question, share your knowledge, create giveaway contests, start a meaningful discussion, and try to personalise posts as much as you can.

Having Custom Software Designed For You

Custom Software

Let’s say you have a specific requirement for your business which is not solvable by any existing app.

Perhaps you want to create an innovative booking system, or you need a special kind of scheduling software that will create team shifts automatically, or you may want specifically tailored content management system to help you run your news portal.

Hiring software engineers and having a custom application designed and developed for you can easily solve the problem you are facing. If done right, such technology could level up your business and help it stand out among competitors.

Customise Your Brand’s Style

Your brand has its own personality. It can be bold and dramatic, calm and sensitive, fun and playful, elegant and sophisticated… Capture the uniqueness of your brand and have a tailor-made style guide written for your organisation.

Develop and nurture the unique voice and tone, and make your brand become instantly recognisable.

That said, you should start customising everything written for your website, sales pages, landing pages, portfolio, brochures, catalogues, apps, social media profiles, business cards, letterheads, greeting cards, and everything in between.

Customise Your Email Newsletters

Nowadays, having an email newsletter as part of a digital marketing strategy is almost imperative for all kinds of businesses. But, what kind of newsletter should you make?

Should it be with plain text, or should you go with a specific template? Our advice: go for a custom design and keep it consistent from volume to volume.

By using simple design tools like Canva, for instance, you can easily create a newsletter from template or use custom images, fonts, colours, and background. Either way, you can take a look at Really Good Emails to find inspiration in the curated list of best-designed newsletters from around the world.

Conclusion

No matter if you own a beauty salon, restaurant, travel agency, or a FinTech start-up, you get to work with people, for people. So, always try to put your users/clients/buyers in the centre of everything you do.

Listen to your customers carefully, try to empathise with them and understand their problems. Then craft your brand guidelines, personalise your communications, and tailor the offers to suit your clients’ needs.